First is the male Peregrine at a territory up the Blackfoot flying around yesterday with a partially eaten coot. As Peregrines almost always catch birds in the air, I wonder how he caught a "mudhen" that always dives underwater. A mystery. Then a male kestrel from this morning, snapshot while out on my quest for nests. By the way, Jay Sumner of Montana Peregrine Institute found 3 new Peregrine territories in the last 3 days in the field- Blackfoot, Bitterroot and Clark Fork. Way to go!
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Saturday, April 25, 2015
I have a photo of the female feeding the young slivers of fish and finally a delivery by the male. It looks like a sucker, minus the head. They really do target these "trash" or non-game fish, trout anglers. The water is still fairly clear, but spring run-off and murky water is just around the corner making fish-catching in the river tough. More squirrels on the menu.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
You could probably hear my shout, "Three!" last evening at feeding time. And careful scrutinizing of the images makes me think she was feeding them fish; not the usual ground squirrel. The male flew in to the nest tree and she resumed her household chores. This should mean three times the food deliveries and activities compared to last year. I'm lucking out.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
The delegates from the International Wildlife Film Festival today in a little tour, thanks to our best pal, Adrian Caddy! Might be time to bust out the Canon GL and make some more little films, with such an inspirational crew. IWFF the rest of the week at the Roxy Theater in Missoula.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Monday, April 20, 2015
Proof - and two chicks in the eagle nest with tonight's first image of the year's young, just one photo of both out of dozens taken. I saw the female feeding somebody morsels of ground squirrel but had no idea what would show up in the photo, shooting from across the river. Chick number two just briefly showed himself for this shot.
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Barry Gordon and I beat a hasty retreat from Missoula yesterday and drove/boated to his cabin at Flathead Lake on Wildhorse Island. He was doing a quick check on things, making sure no porcupines (or vandals) had broken in over the winter and all was perfect. And, there waiting for us was "his" Osprey in the nest, apparently it WAS her when he whistled from the dock and over she came! Halleluya and a long, long journey from the wintering grounds to the same summer haunts year after year. I'm heading back very soon, with more time to get some shots when the male shows up. Or a new male, which may also be obvious if he doesn't respond to Barry's whistle. You can learn more about this nest on our Blog from last August. Exciting times.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Another two photos from last night (I lucked out.) I was at my Mom's today and heard this said by someone on the National Geographic Channel on cable TV, grabbing parts of an abandoned truck to make some biker bar: "We might as well use it for about what we can use it for." Huh? Then I remembered asking a neighbor if she had seen any hummingbirds yet that spring. She informed me that in order to migrate back, "The hummingbirds hang on to the hair of Canadian Gooses with their teeth." Huh? Wow. This may be why education is the primary purpose of our program, going strong.
Jay Sumner and I hit up four possible Peregrine territories in the Blackfoot yesterday and scored on our favorite two. See the lovely female standing on the top right, surveying Chamberlain Creek? She was joined by her mate for a few copulations within 5 minutes (yep) then both sailed away across the valley. The good luck continued at the eagle nest when I got home, dozens of shots of our favorite pair. I see a pattern developing, as my old boss at USFS used to say...
Friday, April 10, 2015
Thursday, April 9, 2015
It's National Guitar Month (and Jazz Appreciation Month) so here is an American Robin from tonight in honor of guitarist Robben Ford. One of the greatest records of all time is his "Talk To Your Daughter" so go buy it now. The finest jazz guitarists in the field are of course Wes Montgomery, then Django Reinhardt, Kenny Burrell, Joe Pass, Grant Green, Herb Ellis, John Scofield, Jim Hall, Pat Martino on and on...Thanks to the Spokane Audubon Society for a wonderful evening last night. All birds on hand were stupendous - Sib, Alisa, Miles and iPod. A fun group in Washington and keep up the great work, Auduboners everywhere!
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
We'll be the evening's enlightenment and entertainment tomorrow for the Spokane Audubon Society. Address is 2117 E. North Crescent Avenue at the Riverview Retirement Community. A colorful PowerPoint, TEDx Talk video, four birds, books for sale, free posters for the kids and FUN!
(Another one from last night and heading back to the beach in a couple of hours.)
Monday, April 6, 2015
This evening the male took off from the snag and returned ten minutes later with this - a Columbian Ground Squirrel, their primary food item right about now. He ate all but one leg then flew over to the nest and fed the female (and I'll bet ten bucks) a newly hatched young. This will get more and more fun.
Sunday, April 5, 2015
Last night the male came in with a ground squirrel and had two rounds of feasting, interrupted by a little bath in the river. He returned to the food cache in the tree and a dumb old limb blocked my view (and made for a crumby photo.) Ravens and magpies were after the entrails, spilling from the tree. By my calculations, young eagles should start hatching Easter Sunday -today. Directly behind me, the Pileated was back to excavating, YEA! Here he is tossing a mouthful of cottonwood chunks out from deep in the cavity. Fingers are crossed at Nest Central.
Saturday, April 4, 2015
People packed into the Artists' Shop in downtown Missoula last night to see all of the birds for Birdfest 2015! Don Jones has his signature big bird photographs on canvas and I have a 16 framed pieces up all month. Steve Thorstenson displayed flocks of ceramic birds, and my absolute favorite is seen here on the bottom left - three kestrels regarding the kestrel book. I had Jillian the owl as well and at one point I queried in an almost shout, "Does anyone here have a real camera?" All cell phones...
Friday, April 3, 2015
I spotted this guy from a half mile away, and got a few shots just before dark. Kerry Foresman writes in his excellent book Mammals of Montana that the unique quills can be three inches long, number in excess of 30,000 over the body, and damaged ones are replaced in a yearly molt. Just one baby is born after a 210-day gestation period, and it is climbing right away, eyes open and quills hardening. Mating must be done very carefully, I am guessing. Pretty cool for a rodent.
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Join us in downtown Missoula tomorrow evening for First Friday opening reception at the Artist's Shop and see the new photos - lots of birds (and one deer) for Birdfest 2015. By popular request, we'll have Jillian the Great Horned Owl along, star of the TEDx Talk! From 5 until 8 pm, and see you there.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Walking quickly to the beach with perfect evening light, I missed both birds mating in this tree, screaming, and flying. I blew it by one minute. Setting up the tripod, ripping the camera from the pack, trying to set up...oh well. I got this photo of the female taking off for a break from the nest and then headed home in frustration. There will be plenty more opportunities, I hope.